Whisky Review: Fettercairn Fior

Fettercairn Fior

The Fettercairn distillery traces its origins clear back to 1824. Despite this long and rich history, it is far from a well-known brand. Several years back Fettercairn released a number of new single malts as part of a brand relaunch, one of which was the Fettercairn Fior. This whisky was matured in bourbon barrels and released without an age statement.

I was prepared for serious peat with this one, and was surprised when the most pronounced flavours and aromas actually weren’t peat at all. In the bottle, the whisky has a deep amber color that is almost red. The label with the unicorn logo is simple and elegant. Opening the bottle, I immediately got a strong and delightful whiff of vanilla, toffee, sherry, orange, coffee, chocolate, cream, and smoky peat.

On the palette, coffee and chocolate are the dominant notes. This isn’t a milky chocolate, despite something creamy in the flavour profile. It is a dark, almost bitter chocolate. Smoke and toffee weave throughout along with just a hint of salt adding an edge to the sweetness. I also pick up ginger and spice. It is a very pleasing flavour combination. There is plenty of peat, yes, but I could imagine this appealing to a whisky drinker even if they are not a huge fan of peat thanks to the complex symphony of dessert flavours present here. Even I have mixed feelings about peat, and I really liked this one.

You can purchase the Fettercairn Fior for around $40-$50. This is quite a reasonable price for such a good whisky. All I can say is that Fettercairn deserves to be much better known than it is.

Fettercairn Fior : Review Summary

Color: Deep reddish amber.

Nose: Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cream, smoky peat, orange, sherry, toffee.

Palate: Coffee, dark chocolate, smoky peat, toffee, salt, ginger, spice.

IPCPR 2016: Update 1

Sands Expo / Venetian

If you follow cigar news, you are doubtless aware that this week is one of the biggest of the year for the industry. The 84th Annual IPCPR Convention is taking place right now in Las Vegas, running from July 24th through July 28th. With the event in full swing, there is already a ton of news. Here is a rundown of some of what’s been happening at the show.

You may know that IPCPR opened up with a number of seminars, more than one of which involved the impending harsh regulations being imposed by the FDA. These seminars went well and provided an abundance of information and advice for large and small businesses. As you might expect, the entire convention has been abuzz about the changes. In fact, a number of brands were showcasing incomplete products or were unable to show off certain products because they are in such a hurry to complete them before the new rules come down.

Getting away from the legal aspects, let’s talk about some of the exciting new releases that have been announced at the event thus far.

Drew Estate: Undercrown Additions and More

Drew Estate made quite a few announcements at IPCPR this year. To start with, the Undercrown line will receive a number of extensions: Undercrown Shade Flying Pig, Undercrown Shade Churchill, Undercrown Shade Tubos, Undercrown Shade 10 Count Metal Tins, Undercrown Maduro Tubos, Undercrown Maduro Churchill, and Undercrown Maduro 10 Count Metal Tins. All of these were showcased at their booth.

Drew Estate Releases

What else does Drew Estate have cooking? Well, for one thing, the brand new Kentucky Fire Cured “Swamp Thang” as well as the Kentucky Fire Cured “Swamp Rat.” The Swamp Thang is a particularly interesting blend of smoky Kentucky Fire Cured tobaccos and a sweet candela wrapper. This is the first time in cigar history that these two flavors have been combined in the premium market.

Drew Estate is also extending the Herrera Estelí brand with the addition of the new Herrera Estelí Miami. The Herrera Estelí Miami features Dominican and Nicaraguan filler leaves in an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder with an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. As the name “Miami” indicates, the cigar is being manufactured in Miami, Florida. 10-count boxes will retail for $130.

General Cigar: Cohiba Macassar and La Amistad

General Cigar introduced the brand new Cohiba Macassar at this year’s IPCPR. This new blend features Nicaraguan Jalapa fillers in a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a Connecticut Havano leaf wrapper. All of the tobacco used has been aged for over four years and finished in Dominican rum barrels.

Three vitolas will be available for purchase starting in August this year in the US.

Meanwhile, General Cigar’s Hoyo brand has a new limited edition line coming out in September called La Amistad. La Amistad will feature a Nicaraguan filler with a blend of Estelí, Ometepe, Condega and Jalapa leaves. The binder will also be Nicaraguan and the wrapper will be from Ecuador.

Four vitolas will be released:

  • Rothschild 4.5 x 50 (USD 6.49)
  • Robusto 5 x 54 (USD 7.59)
  • Toro 6 x 50 (USD 7.79)
  • Gigante 6 x 60 (USD 7.99)

My Father: New Lines + Accessories

In the past, My Father and Tatuaje shared booth space. This year the booths were located close together, but each had its own separate area. Even though that meant a lot more room overall, it didn’t contribute much in the way of elbow room. Both booths were extremely crowded.

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Limited Edition 2016

This year, My Father announced the new limited edition line My Father Le Bijou 1922 Limited Edition 2016 and expanded distribution for the limited release García y García. You may also be familiar with Flor de Las Antillas Maduro. While this cigar has been released twice through Federal Cigar, it will now be entering the regular production line. This will include the original two sizes plus three new sizes. All will be available in November with a price estimated between $7.40-$10.30:

  • Flor de las Antillas Maduro Petit Robusto (4 1/2 x 50)
  • Flor de las Antillas Maduro Toro (6 x 52)
  • Flor de las Antillas Maduro Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52)
  • Flor de las Antillas Maduro Toro Gorod (6 1/2 x 56)
  • Flor de las Antillas Maduro Corona (5 5/8 x 46)

Additionally, My Father has announced a November launch for My Father The Judge, which includes Nicaraguan fillers and an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper:

  • My Father The Judge (5 x 60) — $12.40 (Boxes of 23, $285.20)
  • My Father The Judge (6 x 56) — $12.10 (Boxes of 23, $278.30)

Nat Sherman: Metropolitan Habano

Nat Sherman is another brand which is in a rush to get a new line released before the FDA deadline. As a result, there is only one new line coming out, the Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano. It is a Nicaraguan puro available in five sizes. The product is already shipping, so it will be available very soon:

  • Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Short Robusto (4 1/4 x 54) — $5.50 (Boxes of 18, $99)
  • Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Robusto Fino (5 x 46) — $5 (Boxes of 18, $90)
  • Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Robusto (5 1/2 x 56) — $6.25 (Boxes of 18, $112.50)
  • Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Toro (6 x 52) — $6.75 (Boxes of 18, $121.50)
  • Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Gordo (6 x 60) — $7.25 (Boxes of 18, $130.50)

Additionally, the Nat Sherman Timeless Dominican line is getting two new sizes:

  • Nat Sherman Timeless Dominican Gordo (6 x 60) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $175)
  • Nat Sherman Timeless Dominican Robusto (4 3/4 x 50) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150)

These are also already shipping out to retailers.

Joya De Nicaragua Updates Branding

Joya Black

As you may know, Joya De Nicaragua updated the look for its cigars and packaging with Joya Red in 2014. This year, the company showed off more updated design work with the Joya Black. Joya De Nicaragua has also updated the look of the popular Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta Serie. The updated line will be available in stores in August this year and will be sold exclusively through Drew Estate in the US.

Quick Updates:

  • While Alec Bradley made a showing at this year’s convention, the company only had a chance to showcase existing products. The manufacturer is in a rush to release new cigars before the August 8th FDA deadline.
  • Illusione debuted the Illusione Haut 10, a brand new robusto to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary. The Illusione Haut 10 features a blend of Nicaraguan criollo ’98 and corojo ’99 leaves inside a Nicaraguan café claro AAA wrapper.

So that wraps up our first update on IPCPR 2016! Be sure to check back in soon for more news!

Avo Syncro Nicaragua Short Robusto

Avo Syncro Nicaragua Short Robusto

Avo CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Short Robusto
Size : 4 x 52
Wrapper : Connecticut Ecuador
Filler : Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Peruvian Olancho
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : ~$8 each
More info about purchasing Avo Syncro cigars...

If you are an Avo fan, then you know that Avo Uvezian has his roots as a jazz pianist. Calling on that background, he has named this blend the Avo “Syncro” after the concept of musical synchronization. The goal with this cigar was to “synchronize” the experience of smoking Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. The cigar also contains tobaccos from Ecuador and Peru. The Nicaraguan tobacco is of particular interest as it comes from a volcanic island in the center of Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe. Is the Avo Syncro Nicaragua truly a “synchronization” of tobacco flavors? I smoked the Short Robusto to find out.

Read the full review of Avo Syncro Nicaragua Short Robusto...

Cigar Release: Camacho Check Six

Camacho Check Six - Box

Camacho is proud to announce the latest addition to its Brotherhood Series, the new Camacho Check Six.

Built with the impenetrable character of the Original Corojo, Camacho Check Six pays tribute to the unbreakable bond between those who watch their brother’s six no matter what. In honor of those bold individuals who stand side by side to protect our freedom, Camacho deploys its latest addition to the Brotherhood Series with a cigar built from the legendary tobacco we fought to defend. 

Camacho Check Six - Single

Backed by integrity and bound by virtue, this is one cigar that yields to no other. Celebrating those who prove themselves through actions, not words. A rare breed of individuals who stop at nothing to lay everything on the line for what matters most. Always doing what’s right, never what’s easy. Confirming that there are no limits when it comes to solidarity.

“We are very excited about this second release under our Brotherhood Series. While the concept was inspired by a common bond shared amongst the military brotherhood, it is also aspirational for many. We all have those people in our lives that we know have our back. By extension, it is also understood that you have theirs as well. This is the cigar to share with those special individuals,” said Dylan Austin, Vice President of Marketing for Davidoff of Geneva USA.

At the core of the new Camacho Check Six is a tri-country blend of Original Corojo, San Vicente and Criollo tobaccos. These powerful filler tobaccos combine to add a depth of strength, complexity and flavor to the overall experience. The addition of a Criollo 98 binder from Nicaragua amps up the pepper notes, while the Habana 2000 wrapper from Ecuador adds roundness and excellent combustion to the blend.

Camacho Check Six : Stats

Wrapper: Habana 2000 (Ecuador)
Binder: Criollo 98 (Nicaragua)
Filler: Criollo 98 (Nicaragua) / Estelí (Nicaragua) / San Vicente (Dominican Republic) / Original Corojo (Honduras)
Intensity: 4 of 5 (Medium to Full)

The new Camacho Check Six is packed with twenty Toro (6 x 50) sized cigars and features a shareable challenge coin on the lid of each box. Shipping begins in the US shortly after the 2016 IPCPR trade show and will extend across global markets in the first quarter of 2017.

Suggested Retail (US): $12.50 per cigar / $250.00 per box

CAO Flathead V660 Carb

CAO Flathead V660 Carb

Origin : Nicaragua
CAO CigarsFormat : Toro Gordo
Size : 6 x 60
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Binder : Ecuador Connecticut
Price : ~$8-9 each
More info about purchasing CAO Flathead...

Usually when you think about cigars, you think about Central and South America, where premium cigars usually are made. If cigars are going to have a regional theme, usually it is going to reflect some aspect of South or Central American culture.

CAO Flathead V660 cigars are made in Nicaragua, but they are an exception to the rule. Thematically, they are designed with a box-press shape which is intended to hearken to the engine blocks in classic American hot rods. You will notice the same theme reflected in the stylish retro design of the red and white bands as well as in the packaging (which even includes a cool vintage-style pinup). It is the kind of clever branding you might mistake as a gimmick, but these are definitely not just “novelty” cigars.

Read the full review of CAO Flathead V660 Carb...

Ramon Allones Specially Selected (2014)

Ramon Allones Specially Selected (2014) - Box

Ramon AllonesOrigin : Cuba
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm (4 7/8 x 50)
Ring : 50
Box code : ULA Jun14
Price : ~$550 USD / 50 cigars
More info about purchasing Ramon Allones cigars...

As of late, I had taken a bit of a break in reviewing some of the vast array of offerings that had recently hit the market. I even went as far as to branch off into some of the supposed finer Dominican and Nicaraguan sticks that were more readily available in my homeland. I had reviewed a Davidoff Chateau Margaux 1986 this past spring—a delightfully orgasmic Cuban smoke – here on Cigar Inspector and thought that there were no further mountains to climb, nor seas to sail; as that smoke was as technically perfect as they come –bar none.

Oh, how I was wrong… DEAD WRONG. I had reviewed the Ramon Allones 225th Anniversary stick here last fall, and proceeded to drain my favorite tobacconist’s stock of every box he could get his hands on. It would appear that I now have a new target in my sights to scarf up----evil grin----. Before I get into the meat of the review, I want to disclose that I tried every trick I knew to get this smoke to fail. I tried to light it unevenly, smoke it too fast, smoke it too slow, clip it incorrectly, and even let it douse itself and then relit it multiple times. Nothing I did caused this stick to fail—NOTHING. This is going to be a glowing review. This manufacturer has garnered very little notoriety and respect in our hobby, and I certainly hope that changes. They have earned it in my book.

Read on, and you’ll see why.

Read the full review of Ramon Allones Specially Selected (2014)...

Don Bernardo Cigars Giveaway Results

Don Bernardo El Caballero Three-Pack

Last Thursday we reviewed a line of cigars called Don Bernardo El Caballero. Thanks to Richard Galdieri from Don Bernardo, we had 10 three-packs to give away to our lucky readers, and here are the winners, chosen via randomizer.org:

  • Colin S Schaeffer
  • Jason Gross
  • Rich (rick6string)
  • Kevin W
  • dave (gingerich)
  • Weaver
  • Mark R
  • Jeff Brown
  • Alex (borsay)
  • Doug M (heycoachdoug)

Congrats! Please send us your shipping address via any of our contact methods.

Interested in pre-launch access to Don Bernardo cigars? Just leave your e-mail address at this page (please mention Cigar Inspector when you sign up) and you'll have all the info and pre-launch access. Enjoy!

Don Bernardo El Caballero Robusto (Review & Giveaway!)

Don Bernardo El Caballero

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto
Don Bernardo CigarsSize : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican Criollo 98
Filler : Dominican Seco, Ligero and Olor, Nicaraguan Ligero
Binder : Dominican Olor
Price : N/A

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Richard Galdieri about reviewing a cigar made by his company, Don Bernardo Cigars.

Don Bernardo is not a very well-known name in the cigar world yet, but Richard started in cigar manufacturing in 1989. You will not find a lot of information yet on this boutique line; El Caballero cigars come in three sizes: Montefino (52 x 6.5"), El Rey (57 x 6"), Robusto (50 x 5"). For this review, I tried out the Robusto.

Disclaimer: cigars for this review were provided free of charge.

Read the full review of Don Bernardo El Caballero Robusto (Review & Giveaway!)...

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